Monday, September 29, 2014

I Got Hit by Penguin Update - How to Recover!


Four days from now it will be a year since Panda 2.1 was rolled out prior to it there was a Panda 2.0 was rolled out on the 22nd of May of 2013. 

In my entire career as an SEO none of my clients/contractors was ever hit by any Google Algorithm Updates. Since the first introduction of Panda and Penguin there wasn't a single issue ranking and maintaining my client's site on the first page of Google (Including this blog). In 2013 when Panda 2.0 was rolled out I already felt that somehow my client got hit by this Google update. I was a fool thinking that my client was just experiencing a Google dance in her ranking as most of her primary keywords are still climbing up the ladder to being #1 in Google and I got full of myself when those keywords who drop in rankings was soon back in their original while some even climb higher on their ranking after working out my new strategy. Then a day after Penguin 2.1 was rolled out everything I'm so proud of are gone. It was devastating! As devastating as Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan that hit my beloved country Philippines 4 days after Penguin 2.1 was launched. What's worse is there was no internet connection for 3 days. Not to mention that I just experience being in a city that is under siege by MNLF rebels. What a horrible life experience it was last year.

Being a Filipino is being tough and whatever circumstances you've been through we will always move forward and will always desire for a better tomorrow. Going back to the topic of this post I found myself working day and night researching, analyzing, reading blogs after blogs, forums after forums, comments after comments in regards to Penguin 2.1 update and how to recover from it, though my client hit badly by Penguin 2.1 there wasn't a single message sent on our Google Webmasters Tools account to notify us also her site is still index on Google search and is still bringing up Google organic traffics at it's lowest rate. For almost 2 months I've work under heavy pressure from client and pushing myself to the limit God is so good that He opened my eyes so that I can see what needs be done. Just before the year was about to end the changes I did starts to pay-off.

There's a level of punishment for a site that got hit by Penguin and if ever Penguin 3.0 will be rolled out this year here are the following things you need to check and do that you may know how to recover if ever you're site is one among the many casualty of war.

(Note: This is my personal and original thoughts. Everything that is written below comes from my own experience and I am not taking any responsibility or what so ever if you follow this guide or not)

Penguin Level of Punishment and How to Recover:

Level 1 (The Mild Stroke) - Your site will experience a drop in rankings and traffics wherein you'll find your keywords that was previously on 1st page can now be found on 2nd page or even deeper. I call this The Mild Stroke because this is where you'll notice that there is something wrong in your optimization both On-Page and Off-Page.

How to recover:
- Immediately re-check the changes you made that was done a month or two prior to the update.
- Redo what needs to be redone.
- As we are desperate to hit the #1 spot for our target keyword/s we'll do anything to achieve that goal forgetting that our action may lead to keyword stuffing.To avoid keyword stuffing while having a single niche that talks about Weight Loss you must have an Equal or at least close to the volume of content that talks about Proper Exercise, Eating Habbits et al where it stands alone and will not mention your target keyword Weight Loss. Meaning you'll have to cover the general aspect of your Weight Loss Niche.
- Immediately disavow your Nasty Spammy backlinks done.
- Build backlinks of highest Quality such Wikepedia. Backlinks that are quality often comes in small quantity you have to find them patiently.

Level 2 (The Heart-Breaker) - In this level of punishment it just doesn't feel any good than having your heart broken by someone you love so much. On this level your site are still index on Google search and can still be found doing a direct query on You might find yourself sitting in front of desktop computer trying to work your way out of misery but you don't know where to begin or how and what are the things you need to do. I call this The Heart-Breaker because whatever you'll do it's seems close to impossible to get back those happy moments you have.

How to recover:
- Calm down. By taking a day off you'll might save yourself on a month's work.
- The first thing you need to do when you are ready to begin working your way of your site's misery check your Google Webmasters Tools account where you're affected site is linked. If you got any message from Google you'll know where you fell short. 
- Accept the fact the you are facing this situation right now as it is the hardest part in recovery.
- Gather all your backlinks and submit them to be disavowed. Don't worry Google will not disavow a good backlink as they have a system that allows not to do that only the bad ones. And since you don't which backlinks causes your downfall you might as well send gather and send them all. This is also a signal to them you want to start a new and you are willing to throw it all up to have a fresh new outlook in their algorithm.
- The process of links to be disavowed will take a month or two so no further optimization. In the process of waiting hire a web developer to build your site a new outlook on search engines when you're about to migrate it in due time.
- Change your domain name and grab the HTTPS opportunity as it is now one of the many ranking signals. As you have submitted all your backlinks to be disavowed putting up a rel=canonical tag or redirecting everything to your new domain name is not going to be a bitter start. Since you've submitted all your backlinks to be disavowed the pagerank juice left to pass on your new domain are the ones that Google considers as good backlinks.

Level 3 (The End) - At this level of Penguin penalty or as I call it punishment it's over.

How to Recover
- You can not.